The New Age

The New Age of Tik Tok in Digital Marketing

Learn the formula to success for the next decade in digital marketing

Can an app full of quirky dancing and funny trends be the key to skyrocket a company’s digital marketing strategy to the next level? By now, you’re probably not a stranger to the world-wide phenomenon known as TikTok, a video-editing app that allows users to make short videos with filters, music, and effects. What started as a form of entertainment quickly became an incredible way of marketing and plugging in business ads. The amazing thing is, nearly the entire world uses TikTok. A universal way to get maximum reach and exposure for your products? Sounds too good to be true. But the TikTok uprising has only just begun as both personal users and large companies are finding many new, creative ways to utilise the app for digital marketing. But does the same ring true for Malaysia? With such a diverse range of cultures and ethnicities, can TikTok thrive as a new medium for digital marketing? Today we’ll be exploring some of the ways TikTok has started a new age in digital marketing in the Malaysian region for some neat insights and strategies you can apply today!

It’s About Time

TikTok was first created back in 2016 by a company known as Bytedance. Within its first year alone, the app had over 100 million monthly active users in the Chinese market. And once it went global, the app garnered almost a billion downloads! But what makes the app so special in the first place? On the outside, TikTok’s features seem rudimentary enough. Short videos with filters and lip syncing have all been used in much older apps such as Vine or Snapchat. The difference is, TikTok has streamlined all these features in such an intuitive way, that they’ve made it remarkably easy for anyone to create a high-quality short video clip.

All of this attracts users to participate in the platform themselves rather than just being consumers. In fact, a study conducted in March 2018 showed that 77.6% of TikTok users made videos simply because they wanted to imitate the funny videos they saw (Schafer, 2021). It is this incentive that makes the app so effective and ubiquitous in digital marketing and advertising; the sheer velocity at how a trend or challenge can spread, along with its global outreach makes it too good not to use.

TikTok ads allow you to configure videos that, when backed with detailed consumer information, navigate the platform’s algorithms to reach your target audience. For an app called TikTok, it is no surprise that its biggest selling point is how quickly a company can pump out an advertisement that can spread like wildfire across the platform. Many companies are creating their very own TikTok channel for their brand or products, where they post videos ranging from product showcases to user-generated content by other TikTok users such as comedy sketches, dances, or follower challenges. With a digital marketing strategy that leverages the massive user base, companies can utilise entertaining, yet informative campaigns to attract new consumers.

Trends and Dancing as Marketing Strategies?

In Malaysia alone, TikTok has managed to garner a rapidly increasing base of over 4 million active users. TikTok provides an incredibly effective way for both small and big businesses in Malaysia to broaden their reach by expanding revenue, driving traffic to their website, or to launch a new product. Despite TikTok being a global app that operates in more than 130 countries, multi-location companies may still create localized marketing campaigns for their brand in different languages much easier compared to other social media platforms.

But does this mean TikTok triumphs over digital marketing strategies such as multichannel marketing or personalization engines? It is not an absolute essential for digital marketing agencies in Malaysia to prioritise the app in their digital marketing strategies. However, the app’s ease-of-use and convenience that allows companies to generate incredible revenue for almost half the effort of other digital advertising  is an opportunity that is simply too good to pass.

This is all possible due to TikTok’s self-serve tools such as TikTok AdStudio and TikTok Business that gives digital marketers the flexibility to engage with their target audience. The app also supports performance analysis, intelligent targeting, and engagement tracking which makes it very friendly for small businesses in local economies.

In today’s market, consumers don’t have time to listen about a products’ features or a long list of benefits. Everything has to be fast and snappy, which is why TikTok is so effective. A good example of a business giant that uses TikTok as its primary digital marketing strategy is Shopee. They did not simply broadcast their regular commercials on the app. Instead, they created a monthly series of dances with samples of popular TikTok music and broadcast that across all their marketing channels. The result was that Shopee dominated Malaysia’s TikTok ad game far better than any of its competitors. They did not need to display their vast and amazing range of products, yet thousands of Malaysians recognise their promotional sales, catchy jingles and silly dances. It’s fast, exciting, and straight forward, the perfect formula for an effective digital marketing strategy today.

What About Smaller Companies?

The advent of TikTok ads has resulted in more and more businesses realising its massive influence in the digital marketing world. Although it may still be nascent, digital marketing companies in Malaysia are beginning to invest heavily in TikTok ads. But how do smaller companies tap into the 4 million active millennials with high-tendency purchasing habits and reap the benefits bigger corporate giants are competing for?

Luckily, TikTok has a program called “Back-to-Business” that small businesses can apply for to get up to $100M in advertising credits. Ng Chew Wee, who is in charge of TikTok’s Southeast Asian Business Marketing even stated that ““Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local communities, and we want to be there with them and to provide support as they navigate these challenging times”. Even without the program, digital agencies in Malaysia may simply create their own TikTok Business account that even lets you target audiences by interest, gender, age, devices, and demographics.

For instance, a local nutrition bar company known as Bardox Malaysia targets younger consumers for their product, in the healthy lifestyle and beauty related categories. This means for every user who frequently watches content in the said categories, their ads will be placed between each video even multiple times! The best part is, when users click on the video it links directly to the seller’s page where they can get more information or even make a purchase. From local food sellers such as Western Eight to pharmaceutical material distributors such as gellsa are all hopping on the TikTok bandwagon because of its convenience.

TikTok provides invaluable insight and power in digital marketing, all from the palm of your hands. It also acts as an essential infographic for digital marketers to create effective TikTok ads for their marketing campaign. But perhaps the most game-changing factor that makes the app so unique is the creative freedom that companies have to promote their brand. Something as simple as a trendy dance could skyrocket a brand’s image regardless of the market’s demographics. Never before has digital marketing had such a universal, fun, and flexible way such as TikTok as a marketing strategy. In this new age of digital marketing, one thing’s for sure; dancing goes a long way.

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